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Last week, we found ourselves at the Chelsea Hotel to celebrate a young patrons event, “Cowboy Mouth: Young Artists at the Chelsea.” Alongside board members like Scout Willis, Lola Kirke, Maggy Frances Schultz, Sam Goldberg, Julie Solovevya, Felix Elkmann, Rachel Libeskind, Cheno Pinter, Olivia Fialkow, Matt Sukkar, and Pablo Ros, we stepped into the “Cowboy Mouth,” a room full of antiques, cluttered with tossed pieces of papers, an unmade bed, and old tapestries covering the floor. Nestled into the iconic hotel, the place still conveyed the impressive aura of its former clients like Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, or Jackson Pollock. But that was just the setting.
Following a performance by artist Rachel Libeskind, Annie Fox (playing Cavale) and David Andrews Laws (playing Slim) performed on stage the story of “Cowboy Mouth.” The play was written over a few sleepless nights in 1971, after Sam Shepard left his family to move in with Patti Smith in her room at the Chelsea Hotel. Cavale, a former mental patient, kidnaps Slim, a husband and father, and exhorts him to be “like a rock-and-roll Jesus with a cowboy mouth.” The play follows the stream of the two characters’ conversation, which conveys powerful thoughts of a generation about the meaning of art. Joyful and poetic moments of imagination are balanced by rough instants of utter despair, when reality strikes back at the two lovers.
Leaving the Chelsea Hotel that night felt like leaving the golden era of rock-‘n’-roll behind. Luckily, there was an after-party at the Electric Room where guests like Lola Kirke, Sophie Neuendorf, Harry McNally, Christopher Wolf, Abby Caulkins and Ally Marzella extended this artistic haze until the end of the night.